Ebola Crisis Offers Ban Ki-moon a Last Chance to Lead

Ebola Crisis Offers Ban Ki-moon a Last Chance to Lead
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the People’s Climate March held in New York City, Sept. 21, 2014 (U.N. photo by Mark Garten).

Ban Ki-moon revealed a new side to his character over the past week: Action Ban.

Last Thursday, the secretary-general of the United Nations, often written off as the personification of process-driven diplomacy, announced that he was tired of just talking about the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. “We don’t need all this time-consuming, so-called consultation, or consensus-building,” he told the Security Council. “There is a consensus already that this is very serious and urgent.” He outlined plans for an ambitious regional mission to fight the disease. Then he hit the streets of Manhattan on Sunday, joining 310,000 marchers calling for urgent action over climate change.

Perhaps Ban wishes he could fix all global problems with some pungent rhetoric and public protests. He is a self-confessed fan of Hollywood action movies. He must daydream of tackling threats with the speed and stern decisiveness of on-screen world leaders.

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